The Trump administration has revised and renewed its 2019 Foreign Aid Program which covered financial assistance also for the Republic of Armenia.
The debates will continue in the Senate in September after the Congress returns from its annual summer leave, the Armenian serice of VOA News reports. The package applies also to the amendments to the $40 million worth appropriations proposed for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).
The administration came up with the plan to suspend the assistance, considering it unnecessary and pointless. It froze the $4 billion worth allocations already approved by the Congress.
″The process of appropriations is rather complicated in the United States. First, the administration comes out with a proposal; the assistance bill is then subject to debates by the bi-cameral Congress, which is to reach a final consensus before sending it to the president – who may or may not sign it into law. The relations between Trump and the Congress are controversial at the moment,″ Emil Sanamyan, a US-based political analyst (Institute of Armenian Studies, California University), said.
The White House backed away from the idea of freezing, and cutting down, the appropriations after reports emerged that several senior legislators – both Democrats and Republicans – were opposed to the idea.
″This administration is trying to spend as little as possible on foreign aid to reduce [the appropriations] through political pressure,″ Sanamyan added.
In a speech voicing her position on the proposed move, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said she had serious fears that a decision to end the assistance would undermine confidence between the sides over the budget approval.
Also, two influential Republican legislators, Lindsey Graham and Hall Rogers, expressed concerns that the move would undermine the security and anti-terrorism effrorts, derailing also the negotiations between the White House and the Congress.